Under sunny Steubenville skies, the women’s softball team swept conference opponent D’Youville College on Saturday, leveling their season record at 8-8 and moving a step closer to a potential postseason tournament run.
A competition originally scheduled to take place in Buffalo, New York, was instead played on campus at Franciscan University; as a result, the Lady Barons were the uncharacteristic away team on their home turf.
After the D’Youville Spartans took an early two-run lead in the bottom of the first inning, Franciscan tightened defensive efforts, earning three straight outs during the D’Youville at bat.
The Lady Barons made their next offensive opportunity count, registering three runs in the top of the third inning. Sophomore shortstop Dennise Carrazco reached first base on a D’Youville error and was shortly sent home when freshman second baseman Allyson Weiss pounded a home run over the center field fence.
After sophomore catcher Anna Fluharty reached first and took second base on a wild pitch, she scored off an RBI from sophomore Ashley Kondracki. Kayla Anderson popped out to the pitcher to conclude a productive inning for the Lady Barons.
D’Youville added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth, after Franciscan failed to capitalize on offensive opportunities earlier in the inning. Down 4-3 to begin the fifth of seven innings, Franciscan again responded, this time with two runs off a Fluharty home run.
A sacrifice fly allowed D’Youville to transform two stolen bases into a single accrued run, leveling the score at 5-5. Sophomore pitcher Jayln Effertz struck out the final D’Youville batter to end an otherwise tight defensive inning for Franciscan.
It was in the top of the sixth inning that Franciscan bats came alive. The Lady Barons transformed five hits into five runs, three of them off a double from sophomore Kathleen Thompson. After third baseman Anna Ames scored to begin the inning, runners found themselves in scoring position.
A Fluharty single to left field then scored Thompson, though Anderson struck out to end the inning.
Two more runs were added to Franciscan’s total run count in the top of the seventh inning, this time with two outs. Freshman outfielder Victoria Clute stole second base, and after watching Carrazco strike out looking, crossed home plate after a double from Weiss. Weiss stole third before Thompson sent a hard ground ball to the D’Youville shortstop to conclude their at bat.
The Spartans mustered only a single run in the bottom of the seventh inning, providing the Lady Barons with their first win of the day against D’Youville; Franciscan then took the ensuing matchup 3-2 for the sweep.
The Lady Barons will return to their home turf on April 21 at 1 p.m. for a Senior Day matchup against Hilbert College.